Aging in Place – The Trend Among Baby Boomers
Baby boomers are used to doing things their way. They are the original generation to ditch traditional American ideals, opting instead for independence and self-expression. Remember, they were responsible for the counterculture movement of the 60s and for the Summer of Love. So, is it really any wonder that as they reach retirement age, they would choose aging in place on their own terms?
Today, boomers are between 54 and 73 years old and now face the question of how to live out their golden years. Rather than moving into assisted living facilities or retirement homes, more and more are choosing to stay home. A 2019 survey by Chase even found that 88% of baby boomers have plans to renovate their homes. Clearly, they’re not going anywhere soon!
As appealing as aging in place may seem, it’s only feasible if you take certain precautions. Medical alert systems are integral to making your home a safe space for older adults. Read on for more about independent living for seniors and how medical alert devices make it possible.
What is Aging in Place?
For much of the 20th century, seniors were encouraged to move into assisted living facilities. There, they could have their health and safety monitored by trained staff, which was reassuring for loved ones. These days, however, that argument just doesn’t cut it for the aging population, who are opting to stay home instead.
For baby boomers who value independent living, aging in place means refusing to compromise on quality of life. As you might have already deduced, aging in place is the choice to remain living at home as a senior. It also involves making the necessary adaptations to your home to ensure you are adequately supported.
Aging in place is rapidly becoming the preferred choice among older adults, and it’s not hard to see why. Here are a few of the main benefits.
Moving into a nursing home means leaving the home in which you’ve likely spent decades. The home where you raised your family and where you have countless memories. Aging in place allows you to stay in that familiar environment, where you are comfortable and probably feel the most secure. This is an important factor that many overlook when considering a retirement home. Homesick seniors are susceptible to depression and stress, which endangers their physical health.
In addition to weakened immune systems caused by emotional stress, nursing home residents risk higher rates of bacterial contamination. Studies show that over 25% of seniors in nursing homes carry “superbug” disease-causing bacteria, such as E.coli. By choosing to live at home, you are less likely to contract such diseases.
Seniors who live in nursing homes have very little control over their lives. Instead, staff members take the responsibility of making the majority of decisions, from the mundane to the critical. Where you go, what you do, what you eat, even certain health decisions… all of that is decided for you.
Choosing to live at home allows you to maintain your independence. With the help of a supportive community you get to choose, you can decide your own routine and life decisions. Some people even establish their own retirement communities to whom they can reach out in case they ever need help.
The median cost of a room in a nursing home is $8,000 per month. Why spend your retirement fund on that when you can invest in in-home care and building a safe, supportive environment right in your own home?
Challenges of Aging in Place
The idea of remaining in your own home throughout old age sounds ideal, but the lifestyle does pose certain challenges. When considering this choice, you and your loved ones should first come up with a plan for maintaining a healthy, well-rounded life. What precautions will you take to make sure your physical, social, and emotional needs are met?
One of the critical details of aging in place is building a community. Having people come to visit often and getting out and around are important for meeting social needs. Trustworthy, reliable neighbors make for good resources when you need an extra hand. If you need special medical attention, you might even consider hiring in-home care.
But aging in place not only relies on the network of support you build around yourself. It also requires certain tweaks to the home to improve safety and security. For some, this may involve hiring a CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) professional to renovate. Such alterations may include making your home wheelchair accessible or adding railing in the shower.
However, not everyone requires such drastic changes to their home. Installing a medical alert system may be all you need.
The Benefits of a Medical Alert System
Baby boomers who really value independent living should consider installing a medical alert system. Place wall-mounted devices around the home for full in-home protection. In case of emergency, push a button, pull a string, or speak to contact a help agent.
Many medical alert systems, such as Medical Alert by Connect America, even come with fall detection. In case you fall in your home, it will automatically alert help. This extra set of eyes is especially helpful in high-risk areas like the bathroom.
Wearable medical alert devices are another great option for aging baby boomers on-the-go. Wear it around your neck, on your wrist, or in your pocket for quick assistance in case of emergency. What’s more, some medical alert systems, like LifeStation, also alert your loved ones when your device has been triggered. You’ll feel comforted knowing that medical professionals, as well as the ones that matter most, are there to support you.
A final reason that installing a medical alert system facilitates aging in place is that many also act as smoke and gas detectors. In any other emergency, police, firefighters, or medics can all be dispatched with the press of a button.
Your Home, Your Future
Simple additions to your home, like installing a medical alert system, make aging in place a realistic option for many seniors. It’s no wonder why the majority of baby boomers are deciding to stay at home. A supportive community of people your trust and accessible emergency help are all you need for a comfortable, happy future.
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